Balaji Srinivasan: How to Fix Government, Twitter, Science, and the FDA | Lex Fridman Podcast #331 - Deepstash

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The Prime Number Maze And The Limits Of Human Cognition

The Prime Number Maze And The Limits Of Human Cognition

  • At the core of Balaji Srinivasan's belief system is the concept of a "prime number maze":  We are just like rats in a maze. If most humans were dropped in a prime number maze, they would probably not figure out how to determine the correct path, the turning rule (even if this rule is simple.)
  • If we had just a little bit more cognitive ability, whether it's brain-machine interface or just better physics,  we could figure out the next step in that prime numbers maze, we could see the grid. 
  • Limits of human cognition are mostly a bug, not a feature.


102 reads

What Is Broken About The Government

What Is Broken About The Government

In the world of political truth, as we know it, the fundamental thing broken about the government is that we can't easily and peacefully start new opt-in governments and startup governments.

Basically, you can start a new company, you can start a new community, and you can even start a new currency, but you're not really able to create new countries.

There's obviously value to tradition and there's also tension between tradition and Innovation.


70 reads

Pseudonymous Economy

Pseudonymous Economy

Instead of making appeals to people to look past gender or race, or to not cancel and discriminate online, we make it impossible to do that by taking away that information entirely with realistic avatars and fully functional pseudonyms.

People are adopting search-resistant identities. This means treating their real names like social security numbers, gradually doing less with them online, only using them in official contexts


61 reads

Why The Pseudonymous Economy Is Necessary

Why The Pseudonymous Economy Is Necessary

A pseudonymous economy defends you against disruptions to your social networks.

Just as your bank account is your stored wealth, your real name is your stored reputation. Pseudonymity insures against unjustified debit to that reputation. 


55 reads

Exit Enables Alternatives

Exit Enables Alternatives

And alternatives enable reform.

When a system is calcified enough, you simply can't take it head-on. Instead, you get to the exit, you build a better alternative in a new domain, and you set a better example — thereby reforming the recalcitrant by taking their customers.

Today we build digital currencies, create virtual realities, populate encrypted communities, and transform physical mobility. There is always an exit.


46 reads

Voice Versus Exit

Voice Versus Exit

  • In a country, for example, voice is the votes, and exit is migration. So you can vote with your ballot, you vote with your wallet, or you can vote with your feet.
  • Voice versus exit is this interesting dichotomy: do you try to reform the system or do you exit it and build a new one or seek an alternative?
  • Loyalty modulates this; people push those buttons (being a patriot or loyal to a brand) to get people to stick.


37 reads

A Network State

A Network State

A network state is a social network with:

  • a moral innovation
  • a sense of national consciousness
  • a recognized founder
  • a capacity for collective action
  • an in-person level of civility
  • an integrated cryptocurrency
  • a consensual government limited by a social smart contract
  • an archipelago of crowdfunded physical territories
  • a virtual capital
  • an on-chain census that proves a large enough population, income and real-estate footprint to attain a measure of diplomatic recognition.


35 reads

Where Wikipedia Is Going Wrong

Where Wikipedia Is Going Wrong

  • In technical truth, Wikipedia is great, but on political truths, it's like a defamation engine.
  • Google just pushes Wikipedia links to you and then people "well it's in this Wikipedia, therefore, it's real".
  • They should just allow people to delete their profile because they have zero quality control and it's literally facilitating fraud, where people will maliciously edit and then do things with them and nobody cares or is looking.
  • Fundamentally the issue is that Wikipedia doesn't have any concept of who's editing or property rights or anything like that.
  • Wikipedia media and Academia are all related to the question of independent replication versus prestigious citation.


40 reads


... "it will literally be easier to start a new country than to reform the FDA."



51 reads

Unaccountable Power And Regulatory Harmonization

Unaccountable Power And Regulatory Harmonization

  • It's Zuckerberg's Facebook but you can't name the career bureaucrats at FDA. That is unaccountable power. They get no coverage at all. 
  • There is accountability when there's a face and name that go public, but these folks do not want to go public because they enter a political and media Minefield.
  • In 2022, the unelected, unfireable anonymous American regulator should not be able to impose a regulatory policy for the entire world.
  • Regulatory Harmonization - the mechanism by which U.S regulators impose their regulations on the entire world


36 reads

On Longevity And Crypto Medicine

On Longevity And Crypto Medicine

  • Longevity has the potential to be to traditional medicine what crypto is to traditional finance. It changes the terms of the debate.
  • Conventional medical wisdom is that untimely death is bad, but that life extension is unrealistic or undesirable. So a "little death" is good. But there's a bad life extension, being physically old forever. And there's a good life extension, which is reversing aging.
  • Crypto medicine says: "let's extend life" and this leads to all kinds of new things, where you start thinking about how to maintain your health, how do you take control of your own health, and the decentralization of medicine.
  • It is okay for someone to live long, as long as people can exit to a new thing.
  • In order for us to go and you know colonize other planets, we are probably going to need to know just to survive a long flight.


35 reads



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